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Egypt is a beacon of hope and refuge, pope says at audience

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Just as it had been for centuries, Egypt can be a sign of hope for those who long for peace, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 3. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-AUDIENCE-EGYPT May 3, 2017.

During his weekly general audience May 3, the pope reflected on his recent visit to Egypt and said that because of its religious and cultural heritage as well as its role in the Middle East, Egypt has the task of promoting a lasting peace that “rests not on the law of force but on the force of law.”

“For us, Egypt has been a sign of hope, refuge and help. When that part of the world suffered famine, Jacob and his sons went there. Then when Jesus was persecuted, he went there,” he said. ” Egypt, for us, is that sign of hope both in history and for today, this brotherhood.”

The pope’s April 28-29 visit to Cairo began with a gathering organized by Egypt’s al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s highest institute of learning.

The visit to the university, he said, had the twofold purpose of promoting Christian-Muslim dialogue and promoting peace in the world.

Peace between Christians and Muslims in Egypt, he said, is a sign of the country’s identity “as a land of civilization and a land of covenant.”

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